Nolan Arenado, as expected, ranks as one of the top players in baseball.
Nolan Arenado changed everything for the St. Louis Cardinals and the perception of their offseason.
Before the trade, their offseason was widely considered a disappointment. The team had done nothing to improve their roster when the rest of the National League Central was either standing still or trading away its top talent. After the trade, the Cardinals were viewed as a perennial contender, one that could compete with the juggernauts such as the Los Angeles Angels and San Diego Padres.
That is the power of Arenado, the best third baseman in baseball and one of the best two-way players in the game. MLB Network recently released their rankings of the top 100 players in baseball, and Arenado finished No. 13, ahead of players such as DJ LeMahieu, Francisco Lindor, Trevor Story, Alex Bregman, Manny Machado, Jose Ramirez and George Springer.
It is not surprising that Arenado ranks as one of the best players in baseball, though the argument could be made for him to be higher on the list. After all, he makes the difficult look routine at third base while he has slashed .293/.349/.541 with 235 home runs and 760 RBI in his eight-year career, most recently hitting .253/.303/.434 with eight home runs and 26 RBI in the shortened 2020 season.
Arenado, 29, is worth every penny of his nine-year, $275 million contract and figures to be a cornerstone player for the remainder of his contract, assuming he does not exercise any of the opt outs in the deal. He has indicated that he won’t, of course, meaning the Cardinals will have one of, if not the best, corner infield duo in baseball in 2021 and beyond.
Which means that the Cardinals will be in playoff contention for as long as Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt are in St. Louis. And that is exactly how president of baseball operations John Mozeliak envisioned it.